EMIAC 83: Trent 150 - Trent Station 1862-1968

Long Eaton, 19th May 2012

Conference Details


The valleys of the Rivers Trent, Derwent, Soar and Erewash have provided corridors for transport of many forms.

The railway came to the area in 1839 with the opening of the Midlands Counties railway between Nottingham and Derby. The rail network quickly expanded in 1840 with the opening of the line to Leicester and Rugby, and again in 1847 with the opening of the Erewash Valley Line.

In 1862 the Midland Railway opened a further complex of lines in the area and an interchange station known simply as Trent.

The rail network continued to expand with the opening of a line to Stenson Junction in 1869 and of the High Level lines through to Toton in 1900.

The railway network has seen many changes over the years. Trent Station itself closed in 1968, but most of the railways in the area remain in use.

EMIAC83 will examine the rise and fall of Trent Station and its associated lines.


Organised by the East Midlands Branch of the Railway & Canal Historical Society and held on Saturday 19th May 2012 in Long Eaton.

The conference programme:

09:30 Registration with tea/coffee

10:00 Welcome and Introduction

10:10 Corridors for Transport - Trent, Erewash, Derwent and Soar valleys

10:50 Break

11:00 Trent Station 1862-1968

11:40 Midland Railway Sheet Stores

12.20 Break

12:30 EMIAC Business Meeting

13:00 Buffet lunch

14:00 Site visits: areas of waterway and railway interest around Sheet Stores Basin on the Erewash Canal, Trent Lock and Trent Junction.

back to the top

Conference Report

Keith Reedman

The Trent valley between Long Eaton and Shardlow has long been, and still is, a source of gravel. With the aid of a geological map of the area as a background, Keith described the development of the transport links in the area; each phase being shown in a different colour. Recent excavations have revealed remains indicating the Trent was as an ancient trade route. The early turnpike roads that have morphed into the modern road network. Then came the canals: the Trent-Mersey, Erewash and Derby. And finally the railways: the Midland Counties Railway opened the Derby-London line via Leicester and Northampton, followed by the Derby-Nottingham line. Coal from the Erewash Valley coalfield was transferred from canal to railway at what was to become the Sheet Stores site. To accommodate increasing rail traffic a complex of new lines was opened with an interchange station known simply as Trent. New stations were built and others closed.

back to the top

Rodger Smith

Trent, the station to Nowhere, opened in 1862 and closed in 1968, changing little during its lifetime. Surrounded by a complex track layout, it was built solely to provide interchange facilities between the Derby-Nottingham, Derby-London and Nottingham-London lines. It was not designed to serve any local community - hence being named after a river. Even before the station was built, trains would be split and combined at this junction to everywhere. In 1961 up to 100 passenger trains a day would use the station - but only to allow passengers to change trains.

back to the top

Ian Mitchell

The Midland Counties Railway bought coke to fuel its locomotives from the Erewash Valley coalfield. The canal basin was built to enable the coke to be transferred from boats to railway wagons. As the rail network extended into the coalfield the coke store was no longer needed. In 1854 the site became home to the Midland Counties Railway Sheet Stores. Then, as until well into the 20th century, freight was carried in open wagons and sheets, or tarpaulins, were required to protect the freight from the elements. The standard wagon sheet was 21 feet long by 14 feet 4 inches wide, made by sewing together five breadths of canvas. Boiled linseed oil mixed with red, green or black colouring was used to waterproof the sheets; the mixture being applied in the dressing shop, which could accommodate up to 2,500 sheets at a time. Each sheet was identified by a unique number and the month and year of manufacture. The site is now a small industrial estate.

back to the top

Additional material

The following websites provide additional background to the papers presented:

Please note: Although checked at the time of writing, NIAG cannot be held responsible for the validity of these links or the integrity of these sites.

back to the top

Images taken during the visit

Sheet Stores Basin, Long Eaton
View of the Sheet Stores Basin. The building to the right of the boats was the Coke Store built in 1840.
the sheet dressing shop built in 1899
The sheet dressing shop built in 1899.
the mess room built in 1865
The mess room built in 1865.
two boats leaving the lock into the Erewash Canal at Trent Lock
Two boats leaving the lock into the Erewash Canal at Trent Lock.

Images courtesy of Terry and Jane Waterfield taken during the visit.

back to the top

Comodo SSL

Contact NIAG

About NIAG

Privacy Notice


©Northamptonshire Industrial Archaeology Group 2010–2024